11 of the UK's biggest Christmas markets in 2017 - everything you need to know and the best hotel deals

by Super User
From dates to deals on getting there, here's all you need to know about Britain's biggest and best festive markets Yes, we know it's early but some of you are already thinking of the festive season - and Christmas markets. Now normally this would mean a popping across the Channel for some pre-Yuletide fun on the Continent. But with the pound taking a pasting against the euro (meaning our money doesn't go so far) there's never been a better time to explore the best the UK has to offer. So, if you fancy getting away from the hustle and bustle of the run-up to the big day, why not escape to a winter wonderland at one of the Britain’s cities for some festive fun and yuletide charm. Wrap up warm and soak up the holiday atmosphere capturing the spirit of Christmas at these lovely festive markets - perfect for a bit of seasonal cheer. Chester November 16 to December 20 2017 (Image: Chester Christmas Markets) Just over the border, located in the heart of Chester city centre, the annual festive market will host over 70 traditional wooden chalets all wrapped around a sparkling Christmas tree. There will be an abundance of festive treats and gifts on offer, including quality local and regional products, crafts, clothing, accessories, jewellery, unique gifts and stocking fillers. Visitors will also be treated to delicious hot food and drink, including tasty mulled wine, local ales and hot chocolate from the Real Ale Bar - ideal for keeping warm while enjoying the market. Last year, stalls included a micro-brewery, a fudge maker, a cheese maker and a hat maker. The market has been crafted by organisers to “complement the characteristic Christmas shopping in Chester – that of excellent, niche products and with a strong local and independent slant.” And being overlooked by the historical cathedral, the location lends itself to a true traditional festive market experience. There are set to be plenty of activities and events too, making it ideal for families of all ages. Chester Christmas Markets will be open seven days a week, 10am to 6pm from Sunday to Wednesday, with late night shopping on Thursdays until 8pm. Late night shopping will also be available until 7pm each Friday and Saturday. Deals: If you fancy making a night of it at Chester's Christmas markets then hotels start from £80 in the city centre throughout November and December, which includes weekends. Go to expedia.co.uk/hot-deals to book and take a closer look at the hotels on offer. Manchester November 10 to December 20 2017 Manchester Christmas markets The main market hub will again be based in Albert Square, in front of Manchester Town Hall, where the wooden stalls will remain open for an extra day, until December 21. Launched in 1999 as just a single site in St Ann’s Square, the markets are now a sprawling and hugely popular festive attraction that attract millions of visitors each year. The award-winning event doesn’t just restrict itself to German produce – it also sells other European goods, such as French soaps and Belgian kitchenware. Its cosmopolitan feel extends to its numerous food stalls, where everything from goulash to paella is on offer. (Image: Mark Waugh) If you’re looking for something traditionally British, you can also tuck into a hog roast. Last year it stretched to a total of 10 sites over the city centre, including a traditional German market on St Ann’s Square, a world market on Brazennose Street and a French market on King Street. There were more stalls on Exchange Street, Exchange Square, in the Corn Exchange, on New Cathedral Street and up Market Street, while Cathedral Gardens was home to a family-friendly area with a skating rink. This year’s market could be bigger that ever before, with more details being added in the coming months. Spread across the city centre, some 300 traders offer international food, drinks and delicately crafted Yuletide gifts in the heart of the city. The family friendly site on Cathedral Gardens is back with it’s own ice rink, so plenty to keep the kids happy. Deals: As Manchester has one of the busiest markets in the country it's best to book a hotel stay as early as possible, especially if you want to stay right in the centre of all the festivities. With Expedia's flash sale you can take advantage of hotels which are still a little more pricey in November and December from £180 in the city centre. READ MORE Rhyl Christmas panto tickets on sale now - here are the details Birmingham November 16 to December 24 2017 Birmingham's giant German Market. Birmingham's giant German Market. (Image: Graham Young) This year, the annual festive market in Birmingham will be staying around for a few days longer than usual, allowing more time for visitors to the city. Known as Frankfurt Christmas Market Birmingham, it’s the largest market of its kind outside Germany and Austria. Taking place in Victoria Square and New Street, Birmingham’s Christmas Market will open 10am to 9pm every day. In true form, the German market sells a range of hot and cold food including German sausages (bratwurst, currywurst, krakauer, kasewurst, feuerwurst) as well as schnitzel, strudel, pretzels, crepes and Berliner doughnuts (which have no hole in the middle). There’s also pizza, burgers, steak, fries, waffles and deep-fried vegetables. Drinks on offer include beer, glühwein (mulled wine), hot chocolate (with and without spirits), coffee and tea. And there’s a range of gifts such as festive decorations, crystal lamps, wooden toys, baubles, Russian dolls, wind chimes, tea-light holders, jewellery, ornaments, hats and scarves and even items carved out of chocolate. A neighbouring Christmas Craft Fair in Centenary Square sells local goods from West Midlands traders as well as ethnic handicrafts from around the world. Deals: Similar to Manchester, the Birmingham Christmas markets are a busy one every year and hotels are likely to be booked up quickly if you want to stay over. Hotels outside the city centre are currently priced from £85 throughout November and December. To book go to Expedia here. Swansea Swansea Christmas Market Swansea Christmas Market Dates tbc Located on Oxford Street in Swansea, the popular green and red wooden chalets make a welcome return to the City Centre this Christmas. In 2017 over 40 traders will arrive offering the best choice of arts, crafts, handmade gifts, fine foods, unique and personalised Christmas decorations and more festive treats. Visitors can sample some artisan cheese or local specialities such as seaweed gin, stop and watch the art of glass blowing, tuck into some continental treats such crepes or hand-made fudge - or even try a camel burger. Or simply soak up the atmosphere and enjoy the planned entertainment with a traditional glass of mulled wine. Swansea Christmas Street Market Swansea Christmas Street Market Each year, neighbouring Museum Park in Swansea (in the grounds of the National Waterfront Museum) is transformed into a Winter Wonderland. In 2016, the award-winning winter attraction Waterfront Winterland drew tens of thousands of visitors. Guests enjoyed ice skating on the Admiral ice rink and children’s rink, visiting Santa’s Grotto and experienced the festive family funfair along with delicious foods from the Alpine dining cabins. And organisers expect this year’s event to be bigger than ever. Deals: If you're thinking of staying over in Swansea when you visit the Christmas markets then you can purchase a nights stay from £85 throughout December. Or if you fancy a lake view then the Marriott Hotel is a little higher at £110. READ MORE Crackers ... guests bemused as Premier Inn's CHRISTMAS TREE already up Cardiff Cardiff Christmas Market Cardiff Christmas Market November 9 - December 23 2017 Cardiff has one of the fastest-growing festive markets in the country, run by Craft*folK, a body established to support artists in the area. Established in 1994, it was expanded last year to occupy an even greater area of the city centre. Last year almost 200 businesses from across Wales – from candlemakers to ceramic crafters and brewers to jewellers – exhibited. Many are expected to return this year, with plenty of new ones joining them The Cardiff Christmas Market will return to the pedestrian streets of Cardiff City Centre in St John Street, Working Street, Hills Street, Trinity Street and the Hayes, bringing a yuletide village to the city. Organisers have said visitors should expect an eclectic mix of both returning and new exhibitors at the market. Ferris Wheel Ferris Wheel With two decades of history in Cardiff, the market has a programme of over 200 individual businesses selling a wide variety of diverse arts and crafts interspersed with seasonal food and drink. The market trading hours are 10am to 5.30pm Monday to Saturday and 10am to 5pm each Sunday. The market is also open until 7pm every Thursday during December. Deals: Hotels in the capital can be expensive during busy times and Christmas is no exception. A number of hotels are priced from £134 in December, with the likes of Park Plaza at £179. To book go to the expedia.co.uk/hot-deals page. Edinburgh November 17 2017 - January 6 2018 Members of the public visit market stalls on December 07, 2016 in Edinburgh, Scotland. The Christmas Market is situated in Princes Street Gardens in Edinburgh and has a number of stalls and attractions such as an ice rink, carousel, Big Wheel, and has been open since late November and runs until January 7, 2017. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images) Members of the public visit market stalls on December 07, 2016 in Edinburgh, Scotland. The Christmas Market is situated in Princes Street Gardens in Edinburgh and has a number of stalls and attractions such as an ice rink, carousel, Big Wheel, and has been open since late November and runs until January 7, 2017. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images) (Image: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images) Easily the most famous north of the border, this year it returns to its traditional pitch at East Princes Street Gardens, close to the winter ice rink. It’s one of the country’s longest-running markets and the Scottish section has traditional crafts and gifts, while the European part has a more multicultural feel. Nearby Santa Land also has a children’s market, with a festive fairground with six fun rides and a children’s market full of gifts and toys. Families can also visit Santa’s Grotto to meet the man himself. Edinburgh St Andrew Square will be hosting an oval ice rink, looping around the Melville Monument. You can hire a pair of skates and spin across the ice. If the weather proves too much, you can warm up in the carousel bar with a mulled wine or a hot chocolate. Deals: Prices for Edinburgh hotels are on the upper scale starting from £125 in the city centre during December. It might be ideal to go in November - or January if you've still got the Christmas spirit - when prices aren't as high. To take a look at Edinburgh deals more closely go to Expedia here. Leeds November 10 - December 17 2017 (Image: Christmas in Leeds) Leeds ‘Christkindelmarkt’ is one of the largest and best established authentic German Christmas markets in the UK. Established in 2002, the Market is a partnership between Leeds City Council and Frankfurt Am Main (City Council) in Germany. Bringing a little piece of Germany into the heart of the city centre, the annual market had a fresh new look last year, which is set to continue into 2017. Once again, Millennium Square will be transformed into a scenic winter village featuring a variety of authentic wooden chalet stalls, cosy indoor retreats, a traditional carousel and daily programme of light entertainment. The popular Alp Chalet will be back with a menu of Bavarian styled traditional food and drink with authentic evening entertainment. If the winter weather becomes a bit to much to bear, visitors can unwind with family and friends by a real log fire in the Kuh Stall, a cosy indoor retreat serving a variety of hot and cold drinks and traditional German sausages from the large grill. There is also a packed programme of festive entertainment throughout the market - with a free children’s show each Sunday morning. The market will open seven days a week from 10.30am - 9.30pm, closing at 6.30pm on Sundays. Deals: For a weekend stay in Leeds you can pay from £60 up to £180 for the more high-end hotels. The new look market is an alternative choice in the UK and one to check off your list. Go to expedia.co.uk/hot-deals to find the best prices for your choice of dates. London November 17 2017 to January 1 2018 For six weeks, Hyde Park transforms into a magical wonderland buzzing with Christmas festivities. Possibly London's favourite Christmas festival, Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park is a huge event, with German, Angels and Fairies markets. plus lots of circus performers and dancers. New for 2017 a brand new theme takes you on a deep sea adventure, where you’ll be transported to the depths of the ocean. And in a show especially created for Winter Wonderland, get ready to experience Cinderella on Ice. (Image: AP) Sooty and the gang are returning this year with a new Christmas show. It's a perfect morning treat for tots and older fans. Ice skating, the giant observation wheel and the ice bar will be returning this year, plus over 100 fairground rides and games. And the Christmas Markets, sparkling with fairy lights, provide a festive shopping experience. The Winter Wonderland is open daily from 10am to 10pm. (Image: Handout) If Hyde Park doesn't take your fancy, there is plenty of choice of London Christmas markets. The German Southbank Centre Winter Market near Waterloo has a range of chalets selling hand-crafted gifts as well as rides and attractions to keep children amused. For a second year, another German market will be hosted at Leicester Square, with a packed entertainment programme with circus performers and dancers. There is will also be a Santa’s Grotto for children. Deals: There's plenty of choice of hotels in London and easy underground access if you want to stay further away from Winter Wonderland and explore other parts of the city. For the first weekend in December there are hotels priced at £86 and up to £220. Plus even higher prices for VIP experiences. Head to Expedia here to see a full list of hotels, locations and prices available. READ MORE Mariah Carey announces two UK dates for All I Want For Christmas tour - here's how to get tickets York November 16 - December 22 2017 (Image: Visit York) A ‘Yuletide Village’ at Shambles Market, the return of the Ice Trail weekend, choirs, shopping and food and drink will all form part of the city’s Christmas bonanza. There are five festive weekends, the return of Thor’s Tipi and the ‘living advent calendar’, and of course the shopping jamboree which is St Nicholas Christmas Fair. Running for 37 days, St Nicholas Fair features gifts and crafts from across Yorkshire and beyond as well as the very best in local food and drink produce. Bustling stalls, carol singers and buskers will fill Parliament Street. And mulled wine, brandy-laced hot chocolate and chestnuts roasting on the street corner will all add to the festive feel. New for 2017, the Museum Gardens with be lit after dark at Christmas for a magical walk in illuminated surroundings. It will be filled with “the sights and sounds of Christmas”, including tree canopies drenched in seasonal colour. There’s also a spectacular video projection onto St Mary’s Abbey ruins, commissioned from a Yorkshire artist. Not forgetting the man in red himself, Father Christmas, who will be a regular at the York festive celebrations. Deals: A nights stay at the picturesque York Christmas markets start from £107 in November during the weekend, with a number of motels and hotels slightly outside the centre at cheaper prices of £62. Go to expedia.co.uk/hot-deals to book. READ MORE Christmas pantos you can book NOW in North Wales Exeter November 16 - December 17 2017 (Image: Handout) Located on the green in the grounds of the magnificent cathedral, Exeter Christmas Market boasts an exciting mix of local and continental traders, showcasing the best of festive food, crafts and gifts. New for 2017 will be the west front bandstand, with local bands, carol singers and choirs able to bid for free slots to entertain traders and customers. The market, which has been re-orientated to focus on the West Front of the Cathedral, will still have a continental feel as in previous years but will also boast more opportunities to support local businesses and performers. The market will be trading between the following times: Monday to Wednesday: 10am - 7pm, Thursday to Saturday: 10am - 9pm, Sunday: 11am - 5pm. Other Christmas Street Markets will be open in Castle Street and Fore Street. Deals: For a hotel in Exeter in late November you could be paying at most £165, whilst the majority of listed hotels on Expedia are less than £100 per night during the weekend. Bath November 23 - December 10 2017 (subject to licensing) (Image: Getty Images) Set in picturesque Georgian streets, Bath is an idyllic location for a traditional festive market. Each year the centre is transformed into a magical Christmas shopper’s paradise, as over 170 chalets packed full of Christmas gifts line the streets surrounding the Roman Baths and Bath Abbey. Visitors are invited to soak up the sights, smells and sounds while wandering around the market and enjoy the aroma of warming mulled wine and freshly baked mince pies. (Image: Handout) Over 85% of the stallholders are businesses from Bath and the surrounding area, including handmade wooden toys and crafted candles, tasty cheeses and funky jewellery. Entertainment is also on point, last years highlights including The Natural Theatre Company, a number of choirs, musicians and brass bands. Deals: Another popular choice during Christmas time is Bath, and prices are already looking quite high for a weekend stay. One of its top rated hotels, The George Inn is priced at £125 during the opening weekend of the markets but it's likely to get snapped up so booking now is ideal. Go to Expedia here to book and take a closer look. Liverpool has yet to announce the date of its market.

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